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AT&T Flees USA Gymnastics Amid Nassar Scandal
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Telecommunications giant AT&T has suspended its sponsorship of USA Gymnastics, the company announced Tuesday, as the sentencing hearing of former team doctor Larry Nassar continued into its sixth day in Lansing, Michigan.

AT&T is the fourth major sponsor to flee the organization amid its continually botched handling of the largest sex abuse scandal in history. Since 2016, Procter & Gamble, Hershey's and Under Armour had either canceled or declined to renew sponsorship of USA Gymnastics.

"We notified USA Gymnastics today that we are suspending our sponsorship of the organization until it is re-built and we know that the athletes are in a safe environment," AT&T said in a statement Tuesday. "The terrible abuse suffered by these young women is unconscionable. We remain committed to helping these young athletes pursue their dreams and hope to find other ways to do so. We stand ready to step back in when USAG has fully addressed these tragic events."

AT&T had been the title sponsor for USA Gymnastics' premier international event, the AT&T American Cup, scheduled for March 3 in Chicago. Held every year since 1976, the American Cup is one of the oldest international competitions in the gymnastics and has been an FIG World Cup event for the past several years.

Since 2016, USAG has been accused of reporting sex abuse of coaches in the sport, and then covering up and outright lying as it attempts to distance itself from Nassar, who was first alleged in September 2016 to have sexually abused young girls in his role as a doctor with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.

USA Gymnastics' leadership has been criticized for its poor handling of the scandal involving Nassar, who was allowed to publicly "retire" from the federation in 2015, despite the fact that three gymnasts had revealed that he had been sexually abusing them under the guise of "treatment." USAG, which failed to report Nassar for five weeks after first learning of the allegations against him, has been accused of being tone-deaf, ignoring pleas to make changes and failing to make substantial changes or address major issues in the sport.

USA Gymnastics president and CEO Steve Penny resigned in March 2017 after ignoring calls for him to resign, and full pledges of support from USAG Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley who likewise ignored calls to resign until Monday. Both resignations reportedly came only after major pressure from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Likewise, USA Gymnastics failed to take any action to close the Karolyi ranch as the national team center, despite backing out of a plan to purchase the ranch in 2016, after Marta Karolyi's retirement as national team coordinator. Only when Olympic champion Simone Biles came forward as a survivor of Nassar's abuse and shared her trauma of being forced to return to the ranch to continue training for 2020, did USAG take action and terminate its lease with the ranch.

USA Gymnastics has denied all liability for Nassar's action, even claiming it has no legal duty to inform Michigan State University or Twistars, the Michigan club where Nassar served as a longtime team doctor, after USAG had fired Nassar in September 2015.

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